The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style

The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style

(West, 2nd edition revised, 2006)

Purchase from Amazon
Purchase from Barnes & Noble

The working title of this book was “A Restatement of the Principles of Legal Writing,” and the text is designed on the model of explicit rules followed by commentary. Every rule of punctuation, every important grammatical rule, and every important principle of legal writing can be found here. If the Bluebook deals with citational norms, the Redbook deals with everything in between the citations: the legal prose itself. The final chapters contain examples of superbly written legal documents.

The Redbook is a comprehensive guide to the essential rules of legal writing. Unlike other style manuals, The Redbook focuses on the special needs of legal writers. It answers the nuts-and-bolts questions about grammar, word choice, formatting, punctuation, spelling, editing, and much more. Many rules are illustrated with examples in legal contexts, including judicial opinions and other legal literature.

You’ll find a usage section with more than 1,000 words that give legal writers trouble, a list of more than 200 terms of art that take on new meanings in the field of law, and a guide to using more than 800 words that take certain prepositions. There are also extensive lists of words and phrases to look out for — such as pompous legalese that clients and judges abhor, doublets and triplets that can add more ambiguity than clarity, “deadwood” words and phrases that add nothing at all, plus stuffy phrases, wordy phrases, and fancy words (with suggestions for simple substitutes).

Designed especially for practicing attorneys, judges, law students, law professors, paralegals, and legal secretaries, The Redbook emphasizes the various ways legal writing differs from other types of technical writing. Its how-to sections give practical tips on preparing the legal documents they are called on to produce every day, including:

  • Business correspondence
  • Case briefs
  • Research memos
  • Opinion letters
  • Demand letters
  • Affidavits and declarations
  • Pleadings
  • Motions
  • Appellate briefs
  • Judicial opinions
  • Contracts

Each section is illustrated with sample documents.

With two expanded indexes and a new detailed table of contents, this second edition of The Redbook makes it easy for users to find just what they’re looking for. It’s an indispensable aid for anyone who prepares legal documents.